WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Medicare Part B premiums in January will be lower than previously projected and the Part B deductible will decrease by $22, U.S. health officials say.
Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said Medicare Trustees predicted monthly premiums would be $106.60, but standard premiums will instead be $99.90 a month.
Medicare Part B covers physicians' services, out-patient hospital services, certain home health services, durable medical equipment and other items, Sebelius said.
The $99.90 monthly premium in 2012 represents a $15.50 decrease over the standard 2011 premium of $115.40 paid by new enrollees and higher income Medicare beneficiaries and by Medicaid on behalf of low-income enrollees, Sebelius said.
Since 2008, Medicare enrollees have paid $96.40 per month for Part B, due to a law that freezes Part B premiums in years where beneficiaries do not receive cost-of-living increases in their Social Security checks.
In 2012, those with Medicare will pay the standard Part B premium of $99.90, amounting to an additional monthly change of $3.50 for most people with Medicare.
The Medicare Part B deductible will be $140, a decrease of $22 from this year, Sebelius said.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also announced monthly premiums for Medicare Part A, which pays for inpatient hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and some home health will be $451 for 2012, an increase of $1 from 2011.